LONDON, October 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Unite, Britain's biggest union, says the decision of two overseas contracting companies not to use any UK labour to build a power station in Britain is an absolute scandal, and makes little sense given the present tough economic conditions.

Unite has been informed by the two Spanish contracting companies working on the Staythorpe power station construction site near Newark that they have no intention of employing any local labour to undertake the work.

Alsthom has been contracted by RWE to build a gas-fired power station near Newark. Alsthom then sub-contracted two Spanish companies, Montpressa and FMM, to carry out construction work on the site.

At a site meeting on the 14 October the contractors, Montpresa and FMM, stated that they would be using non-UK workers for all the work they needed to carry out onsite with the exception of a stack build which they were considering contracting to a UK company.

FMM told union officials that because they had no direct employees themselves, they would supply their workers directly from abroad . This would mean that there would be no consideration given to employing local construction workers with years of experience in building power stations throughout the Trent Valley. The national agreement for construction workers, which both the employers and trade unions are signatories, states that consideration should be given to available local labour.

Unite's joint general secretary, Derek Simpson said This is an absolute scandal. The country is in the grip of a credit crunch and the construction industry is one of the worst hit sectors. We know there are qualified people in the local area who are out of work and are more than ready and willing to do the job.

Unite is demanding that RWE and Alsthom put pressure on the sub-contractors to end this scandalous situation. Give UK workers a fair chance to get a cut of the action to build the new generation of UK power stations.

The UK needs to upgrade and build new power stations and there are huge opportunities to create thousands of well-paid and highly-skilled jobs. It will be a disgrace if UK workers are shut out from building their own power stations.

It is time for the government ensure that UK workers can compete on a level playing field. As other sectors of the economy feel the strain, the creation of skilled jobs in energy is going to be crucial if the UK is going to offset the effects of the global economic downturn.

Unite would never insist that a company should only employ workers from the UK for a job, we would consider this to be discriminatory. But in this case the contractor will not even consider the skilled local labour on their doorstep.

Unite is pressing for an emergency meeting this Thursday to try make progress on the issue of offering skilled employment to local, qualified workers.

For further information contact Pauline Doyle on +44(0)7976-832-861